Newer reporter Neal skips happy hour so that you can learn what the old people are watching between Nexium ads. Continues after the jump.
Poor, poor Ed Gillespie. The RNC Chairman had been planning to make the talk show rounds tonight on voter fraud with appearances on FNC's Big Story and CNBC's Capital Report. But here Ed was, taking flack for both Condoleezza Rice's surprise stumping for Bush on the campaign trail and Pat Robertson's earlier quote. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney escaped from the bunker to answer softball questions from none other than Mr. Sean Hannity himself...
Ed's strategy: Talking points all the way. Mention how Bush is strong on security, the global test, how Kerry sees terrorist acts as "nuisances", that Sproul and Associates/America Votes is nothing compared to the Democratic registrations-for-crack-cocaine arrest in Ohio, that Kerry is "in favor of full citizenship for illegal aliens."
Highlight: When asked about Condoleezza Rice's upcoming campaign speeches in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida and whether it is odd that the president's national security adviser is campaigning for him, Gillespie manages to reply there is nothing odd about it because "Dr. Rice is talking about national security values as well".
Also on Capitol Report: DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe. Sticks to the usual Dem talking points, claims Bush will make Social Security unstable, that "he uses the politics of fear", on Sproul/America Votes: "We won't let them go to the Supreme Court to steal the election again." Former Sec'y. of State Lawrence Eagleburger & Kerry Security Advisor Dr. Susan Rice debating over White House denials that Bush ever told Pat Robertson Iraq would be casualty free.
Brit Hume: David Yepsen, Des Moines Register, as guest on Kerry gaining lead in Wisconsin & Iowa polls. Yepsen blames "isolationist and pacifist tendencies" in WI & IA for Bush slipping in those states, then notes a healthy "patriotic" counterbalance. Roundtable discussion, Mara Liasson (NPR), Charles Krauthammer (columnist), Mort Kondracke (columnist): Krauthammer criticizes Kerry as soft on terror & war in Iraq, Kondracke, Liasson disagree.
Hannity & Colmes: Sean Hannity interviews Dick Cheney on an Ohio set decorated with bales of hay. Vice President Cheney answers standard issue questions on Bush's plans for Social Security, Iraq, the debates and voter registration. Highlight: Cheney sidesteps the question of who one the debates by claiming that "Experts and pundits sit around and try to decide who won the debate... That's not how the American people look at it." Commentary on Cheney interview follows by Newt Gengrich, Lousiana Sen. Mary Landrieu and Ralph Nader. Landrieu says that she felt Hannity's interview acted like an infomercial for the Bush campaign. Hannity calls her a "crappy senator" in response. Classy.
O'Reilly Factor: Ex-Asst. Defense Secretary Frank Gaffney and Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment on the WMD fiasco hurting Bush. Gaffney: "I think Bush has been vindicated." Short interview with Naked Gun/Airplane director David Zucker, now producing anti-Kerry ads for the Grover Norquist-inspired Club for Growth. Zucker claims Yassir Arafat endorses John Kerry.
Hardball (9PM edition): Election-mania here at Hardball, with lots of guests, lots of worrying and lots of hairpulling over the possibility of another 2000 when they should have been worrying about the Yankees. Unveiling of MSNBC's "Democracy Plaza" promotion. Interview with Theodore Olsen and David Boies of, respectively, the 2K Bush and Gore legal teams. Boies: "Problem with provisional ballots is no way to count them quickly." Olsen: "If election officials figure out the rules for counting ballots ahead of election, they can be counted quickly." Ralph Nader shows up, like Gillespie, in his second appearance of the night. Nader mostly repeats same lines he has been going on since the start of the race, claims "Democrats are a decadent party." Then again, he also says "They both flunk. But Bush is the worst." PA Governor Ed Rendell (D) does a phone interview full of Clintonisms, debate about Florida in 2004 between Reps. Mark Foley (R), Kendrick Meek (D).
Countdown w/ Olbermann: Olbermann claims Cheney in speech today made his earlier warnings about terrorism "look like a walk in spring rain." Feature on early voting in Nevada and polling places in Las Vegas Strip casinos(!). Lots and lots of talk about Bill O'Reilly's legal troubles, Pat Robertson, feature on counterfeit cash. Interview/book promo with Arianna Huffington. Huffington claims Bush appeals to an innate "lizard brain" inside voters who find the president's body language reassuring.